Israel acknowledged for the first time yesterday that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was "an Israeli agent." In return, Pollard's attorney dropped a petition to the High Court of Justice.
Pollard believes that only once Israel admits that he served as an agent on its behalf will his release from jail be made possible by the U.S. since only then will Washington see his freedom as a dimension of the bilateral relationship. "The first down payment for Jonathan's release is the truth. Unless Israel comes clean, there is no opportunity to have Jonathan released," his attorney, Larry Dub, said last night. Dub confirmed the quid pro quo. "We will withdraw the petition to the High Court at 9 A.M. Tuesday morning," he said.
The wording of the Israeli statement is the product of painstaking negotiations over months between the Prime Minister's Office and Dub, and after several Israeli ministers had called for Israel to take responsibility for Pollard, and backed this call up with visits to him in a South Carolina prison.
In a letter written by the Prime Minister's legal advisor Shimon Stein to Dub last night, it states: "Jonathan Pollard was an Israeli agent handled by high ranking Israeli officials in an Israeli authorized bureau, Lakam. In light of this fact, the State of Israel acknowledges its obligation to Mr. Pollard and is ready to assume full responsibility accordingly."
Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh will present the letter personally to Pollard, when he visits him in jail this Friday.